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Black Box Voting — © 2004 Bev Harris 
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Black Box Voting 

Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century 

By Bev Harris 

Talion Publishing / Black Box Voting 

This free internet version is available at 

Contents © 2004 by Bev Harris 
ISBN 1-890916-90-0 
Jan. 2004 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever 
except as provided for by U.S. copyright law. For information on this book and 
the investigation into the voting machine industry, please go to: 

Black Box Voting 
330 SW 43rd St PMB K-547 • Renton, WA • 98055 
Fax: 425-228-3965 • - Tel. 425-228-7131 

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Black Box Voting & 2004 Bev Harris • ISBN 1 -89091 6-90-0 


First of all, thank you Lord. 

I dedicate this work to my husband, Sonny, my rock and my mentor, 
who tolerated being ignored and bored and galled by this thing every 
day for a year, and without fail, stood fast with affection and support 
and encouragement. He must be nuts. 

And to my father, who fought and took a hit in Germany, who 
lived through Hitler and saw first-hand what can happen when a country 
gets suckered out of democracy. And to my sweet mother, whose an- 
cestors hosted a stop on the Underground Railroad, who gets that 
disapproving look on her face when people don't do the right thing. 

And to the kids, Megan and CJ and David IV and of course, Casey, 
who supplied me with constant encouragement and located some hack- 
ers to provide a point of view. And Erika, the nosiest child on earth, 
who grew up to become a reporter for a major news outlet, for tell- 
ing me, "Mom, that is not a story. You have to prove it." And when 
I did prove it, for saying "This is good. Mom, but it's B-section. 
Get some more if you want it on A-1." 

— Bev Harris 

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"What's being done to ensure that computerized voting systems are trust- 
worthy? ... Bev Harris, author of the book "Black Box Voting," is the 
godmother of the movement. " 

— Hiawatha Bray 
The Boston Globe 

"Bev Harris ... found Diebold software - which the company refuses to 
make available for public inspection, on the grounds that it's proprietary 
- on an unprotected server, where anyone could download it. ..This in itself 
was an incredible breach of security. ..Why isn't this front page news?" 

— Paul Krugman 
New York Times 

"Worried about computerized democracy? You should be. You may have 
already voted in 2004 — they just haven't yet told you whom you voted 
for. Bev Harris gives you the real skinny on the Gatesification of our 
ballot box. " 

— Greg Palast 

Author, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" 

"This book is already required reading for people to learn about electronic 
voting, in my opinion." 

— Dr. David Dill 
Stanford University Computer Science Professor 

Black Box Voting: "Any voting system in which the mechanism for recording 
and/or tabulating the vote is hidden from the voter, and/or the mechanism 
lacks a tangible record of the vote cast." 

The term "Black Box Voting" was coined by David Allen, who also collabo- 
rated on approximately 11 pages of the 239-page text, as follows: ITAA 
meeting: Author Bev Harris obtained info on the meeting from her sources and 
gave Allen the time, phone number and password. Allen taped the meeting, and 
provided the detailed notes in Chapter 16. Harris provided the ITAA document 
quoted in Chapter 16. Harris and Allen collaborated on the commentary on the 
meeting. Allen wrote part of the 2-page Internet voting section, and contrib- 
uted his comments on a Talbot Iredale memo in Chapter 13: Volusia County. 
All research and writing for the remaining 228 pages is by Bev Harris with the 
help of 75 sources, 22 of whom are computer professionals. 

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Black Box Voting © 2004 Bev Harris • ISBN 1 -89091 6-90-0 


When we started digging around on this story, we expected to find 
the odd body part or two. Little did we know, we were digging in a 
graveyard. Suddenly, the dead bodies were piling up so fast that ev- 
eryone was saying "Enough, enough we can't take any more!" 

This book was originally designed to be a handy little activism 
tool, an easy-to-understand introduction to the concept of electronic 
voting risks. It was to contain a history, interviews, and a discus- 
sion of theoretical vote-rigging. But as we were plugging along, re- 
searching the subject, it got a little too real — even for us. 

C'mon over. No time to waste. We have a republic to defend. 

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Chapter 1: I Will Vote 1 

Chapter 2: Can we trust these machines? 4 

A compendium of errors 
Chapter 3: Why we need disclosure of owners 26 

Senator Chuck Hagel - A poster boy for conflict of interest 
Chapter 4: A brief history of vote-rigging. 33 

Paper ballots, lever machines and punch cards 
Chapter 5: Cyber-Boss Tweed 37 

21st Century ballot tampering techniques 
Chapter 6: Who's beholden to whom?. 47 

The election industry bureaucracy 
Chapter 7: Why vote? 57 

Our founding fathers — and your responsibility to engage 
Chapter 8: Company information 63 

What you won't find on company Web sites — Business Records Corp. • Election 

Systems & Software • Sequoia Voting Systems • Votehere • ■ Hart 

Intercivic • Wyle Labs • Diebold Election Systems 
Chapter 9: First public look ever into a secret voting system 85 

The Diebold FTP site, and what was on it 

Chapter 10; Who's minding the store? 113 

Chapter 11: "" - noun or verb? 123 

Chapter 12: Open source exam 138 

The first public examination of the Diebold computer code 
Chapter 13: Security Breaches 164 

San Luis Obispo mystery tally • Cell phones and votes " Unauthorized vote 

replacement in Volusia County • The Diebold Memos and unauthorized software 

Chapter 14: A modest proposal (solutions) 192 

Chapter 15: Practical activism 201 

Chapter 16: The men behind the curtain 217 

Appendix A: More problems (continued from Chapter 2) 



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/ Will Vote 



I Will Vote 

Anthony Dudly, a mulatto from Lee's Mill, North Carolina, believed 
that he was undereducated. He had a vision in mind for his children: 
They would become educated — all of them — and one day they 
would vote. 

His country was struggling to recover from a war that had ripped 
the North from the South, forcibly rejoined them and ordered the 
Emancipation Proclamation. Now it was trying to decide what to do 
about voting rights for freed black citizens. Reconstruction Acts or- 
dered voting rights for African- Americans in the South but not the 
North. The border states wanted nothing to do with black voters. 

When the Fifteenth Amendment became part of the Constitution 
on March 30, 1870, guaranteeing black suffrage in all states, An- 
thony figured all that remained was to make sure his children got an 

Anthony's children learned to read and write so well that they looked 
up the traditional spelling of their own name and changed it to "Dudley," 
and they also discovered that voting was not as guaranteed as the 
Constitution promised. 

Politicians clashed over the rights of former slaves. Vigilante groups 
like the Ku Klux Klan found ways to prevent black citizens from 
voting. Will Dudley, one of Anthony's children, vowed that his chil- 
dren would go to college, and by golly, they were going to vote. 

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Black Box Voting 

Will was not an affluent man, but he was a man of conviction, 
and all nine of his children went to college. Eight of them got their 
degrees. Will's third child, David, noticed something that caused him 
to put college life on hold. Around election time in Greensboro, North 
Carolina, black folks had become so intimidated that they often just 
locked the door and stayed home on Election Day. Even registering 
to vote could get you on the "list," and you might get a visit in the 
middle of the night. 

A singular goal took over David's life, and he dropped out of col- 
lege to drive all over North Carolina, persuading African-Americans 
to vote. 

"We must have the courage to exercise this right," he said. "If we 
don't vote, we can never truly be a free people." David preached 
voting and the value of a good education until the day he died. 

Jerome Dudley was David's youngest son, and he became the most 
pissed-off Dudley when it came to voting. It was 1964, nearly 100 
years since Anthony had pinned his hopes on the Fifteenth Amend- 
ment, and people still were being cheated out of their votes. 

The cheating took various forms. Sometimes "challengers" were 
posted at the voting locations, demanding answers to questions like, 
"Who was the 29th president of the United States?" before allowing 
citizens to vote. Sometimes a poll worker would tell you to step aside 
and let the "regular Americans" vote. 

Jerome became student body president at North Carolina A&T State 
University, leading demonstrations to integrate schools and fighting 
for voting rights. 

It was in this climate that Jerome's nephew was raised. Sonny Dudley 
spent his younger years projecting his voice in community theater; 
when he becomes passionate about a topic, he bellows so dramati- 
cally that he shocks everyone. 

"I will vote for who I want, and no one's gonna stop me," he an- 
nounced. He said it loud and said it proud, and then Sonny cast his 
very first vote, for Eldridge Cleaver. 

This is the man I married, now 53 years old, a great, gentle bear 
of a family man. We watched the bizarre 2000 presidential election 
together, and while I ranted about the disenfranchisement of the Florida 
voters. Sonny just sat there with a quizzical look. 

"But look what they are doing!" I said. "These are violations of 

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Black Box Voting & 2004 Bev Harris • ISBN 1 -89091 6-90-0 

/ Will Vote 


their right to vote!" 

"Oh, they've always done that," he said quietly. "You just notice 
it because now they're playing games with the white folks, too. How's 
it feel?" 

Not too good. 

Two years later, something made me stay up all night. 

"I just got curious," I told Sonny. "There's this article by a writer 
named Lynn Landes that says no one knows who owns the voting- 
machine companies. I did some research and found out that one of 
the owners is a Republican senator who is running for office right 
now. Does that seem right?" 

"Heck, no!" 

So I wrote it up and and posted it on my Web site, along with 
corporate papers and financial documents. A few days later I got a 
certified letter from lawyers for Election Systems and Software (ES&S), 
demanding that I remove information about ES&S ownership from 
my Web site. 

Well yikes. Does this seem right? 

Heck no, so I sent copies of the ES&S cease-and-desist letter to 
3,000 reporters. Then it occurred to me that it might be a good idea 
to mention it to my husband. 

"We can't afford a lawyer, you know," I said. "We might lose the 
house. Maybe I shouldn't have done that." 

"It was Christmas," said Sonny, "and my son David was six months 
old." He speaks slowly and with great flourish, and it gets me impa- 
tient when he goes off on these tangents. "I was so broke that all I 
had in the refrigerator was a jar of pickles." He added a long pause 
for effect. "I went out in the back yard and cut a branch off a tree 
and decorated it." His voice softened. "Now what's the problem?" 

He stood up, towering over me. 

"My people died for the right to vote," he boomed. "I will vote 
for who I want, and no one's gonna stop me." 

But I have a question: Can we trust these machines to let us vote 
for who we want? 

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